(STAR) By Delon Porcalla - With an extremely hectic schedule attending to problems of state, President Aquino – a 50-year-old bachelor – said yesterday that he now hardly had any time to date, and he has already lost his privacy.

He didn’t mention though if he was still going steady with his girlfriend of two years Shalani Soledad, a councilor of Valenzuela City, when GMA-7 anchor Mel Tiangco asked the question during the panel interview with fellow TV networks ABS-CBN 2 and TV 5.

“If there is time I still manage to go out on a date, but I no longer have privacy. I have many companions now (presidential guards) and I am busy even during Sundays. I hardly have any free time,” he said.

When asked if he hopes he could date more often, he replied: “As the Americans say, hope springs eternal.”

Rumors have it that Mr. Aquino and Soledad are no longer sweethearts, but no one has confirmed this either way.

Last April 28, at the height of the presidential campaign, Mr. Aquino had a 20-minute date with Soledad, who turned 30 on that day. “Yes, we had a date for about 20 minutes,” he told reporters who covered the Liberal Party sortie in Tacloban, Leyte.

Then presidential candidate Aquino revealed that it was even made in advance, or before midnight of April 27.

Aquino had always tried to keep his personal life private, providing scanty details of his relationship with Soledad, who was re-elected as councilor of Valenzuela under Aquino’s LP.

When asked for Soledad’s reaction to his proposal that Abante columnist-reporter Rey Marfil, who is now his Press Assistant Secretary, would be his “ring-bearer,” along with Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, Aquino said that she was “speechless.”

“She seemed speechless when I asked her if she had read what was written in the papers. She opened her mouth and did not say anything. Yesterday she was in a hurry. She said in her text message that we will have dinner when I get back. We will have to talk first,” he related.

“But anyway when I get to talk to her I will tell her that Rey is a good man,” Aquino said. In a text message to Marfil, Soledad wrote, apparently also in jest: “Thank you ring-bearer…”


Will Noynoy stay single during his term? Posted at 08/01/2010 2:57 PM | Updated as of 08/01/2010 3:25 PM

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is standing firm on his previous declarations that his love life is taking a backseat for now.

During Sunday’s press conference held after a Mass commemorating the former leader Corazon Aquino’s first death anniversary, Noynoy was asked by a reporter to comment on Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas’s remark about his personal life.

In his homily, Villegas said: “As President Cory was our most prayerful president, may you be our most available and loving bachelor President.”

The 50-year-old President laughed when the reporter pointed this out. He said he would specifically asked Villegas to explain “what he meant by that.”

Noynoy, who is in a relationship with 30-year-old Valenzuela City Councilor Shalani Soledad, went on by saying his duties and obligations to the country remain his top priorities.

“I did take on this responsibility. I have duties and obligations to the people. And I think I’ve demonstrated in the past, before I embark on anything else, I finish my duties and obligations. I take very high consciousness my responsibilities and obligations,” he said.

Did Villegas want him to remain a bachelor during his term? “Baka masyado nating sineseryoso ‘yong parte noong kay Bishop Soc na ‘yon,” he replied.

“Kaya magandang itanong ko na din sa kanya. Baka bukas sabihin niya, ‘Kayo naman, ang mas importante doon ‘yong huwag mong pahirapan ‘yong susunod sa’yo.’ Baka ‘yon po ang may mas saysay,” he said.

Rumors about Noynoy and Soledad breaking up surfaced recently after the councilor failed to attend the President’s first State of the Nation Address on July 26. Noynoy and Soledad denied the rumors.

Soledad attended the memorial Mass for Cory at La Salle Green Hills in Mandaluyong City on Sunday.

Palace mum on rumors of Noynoy-Shalani ‘breakup’ 07/31/2010 | 02:40 PM

Malacañang kept its silence Saturday on reports that President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy" Aquino III and his girlfriend, Valenzuela City Councilor Shalani Soledad, have ended their relationship.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda declined to answer questions on the matter in an interview on government-run dzRB radio Saturday.

“Hindi ko siya tinatanong (I don’t ask him about it), I purposely don’t ask. It’s not a matter of national importance," he said.

“I have never met Ms. Shalani. I really don’t know their status and I don’t ask the president about it," he added.

On Friday, Soledad visited Aquino at his house along Times Street in Quezon City, amid rumors that they had broken up.

Speculations about the breakup started after Shalani failed to show up at the House of Representatives last July 26, when Aquino delivered his first State of the Nation Address.— LBG, GMANews.TV

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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